What roles Bluder's four freshmen recruits could play
IOWA CITY, Ia. -- Standing 5-foot-5 with a slight build, Whitney Jennings isn't going to pass for a bruiser any time soon.
Her stature didn't stop the former Indiana Miss Basketball from being an imposing physical presence on the court during her prolific prep career — or at least feeling like one.
"In high school, I was strong — or I felt strong — out there," Jennings said. "It's just a whole new level of physicality out there in college."
The top prize in a highly-touted Iowa freshman class, Jennings has spent the past few months getting acclimated to the college game with the help of one of the nation's most physical guards.
Jennings is expected to serve as Samantha Logic's backup at point guard. Logic, a first-team all-Big Ten senior regarded as one of the toughest point guards in the country, has gone against Jennings in practice.
For Jennings, that has meant getting physical.
"Having to go up against a player like Sam and even playing alongside her it's a challenge," Jennings said. "She's tough, she's strong, she's physical. But every day I look forward to it."
At Logansport High School, Jennings scored the fifth-most points in Indiana state history (2,641). She is pegged as the heir apparent to Logic at point guard.
That doesn't mean the dynamic freshman won't see plenty of playing time at multiple spots this season.
"I don't know how you keep Whitney Jennings off the floor, and that's a great problem to have, isn't it?" Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. "I know she was a point guard in high school, and Sam is a point guard. But there have been numerous times that we've played two, three point guards that played in high school."
Jennings is one of four freshman expected to provide depth to an Iowa rotation that was limited by injuries at times during last year's 27-9 season.
Bluder thinks 6-foot-3 Chase Coley of Minneapolis and 6-1 Carly Mohns of Broadhead, Wis., can provide immediate depth in the paint for an Iowa team that had just one player over 6-1 — 6-4 senior Bethany Doolittle — in its regular rotation last season.
Mohns could provide instant help for Iowa's rebounding game; Bluder called Mohns a bull on the glass.
Last year's Gatorade player of the year in Minnesota, Coley will provide the Hawkeyes some much-needed length in the post behind Doolittle.
"(Coley) needs to continue to gain strength, but she really reminds me of Bethany Doolittle as a freshman," Bluder said.
Christina Buttenham is the wild card in the group of newcomers. The Ontario native played on Canada's junior national team. She missed Iowa's summer workouts, but Bluder said she is catching up quickly. At an even 6 feet tall, Buttenham provides another long wing player for the Hawkeyes.